Matching Items (41)

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Microfluidic sorting of protein nanocrystals by size for X-ray free-electron laser diffraction

Description

The advent and application of the X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) has uncovered the structures of proteins that could not previously be solved using traditional crystallography. While this new technology is powerful, optimization of the process is still needed to improve

The advent and application of the X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) has uncovered the structures of proteins that could not previously be solved using traditional crystallography. While this new technology is powerful, optimization of the process is still needed to improve data quality and analysis efficiency. One area is sample heterogeneity, where variations in crystal size (among other factors) lead to the requirement of large data sets (and thus 10–100 mg of protein) for determining accurate structure factors. To decrease sample dispersity, we developed a high-throughput microfluidic sorter operating on the principle of dielectrophoresis, whereby polydisperse particles can be transported into various fluid streams for size fractionation. Using this microsorter, we isolated several milliliters of photosystem I nanocrystal fractions ranging from 200 to 600 nm in size as characterized by dynamic light scattering, nanoparticle tracking, and electron microscopy. Sorted nanocrystals were delivered in a liquid jet via the gas dynamic virtual nozzle into the path of the XFEL at the Linac Coherent Light Source. We obtained diffraction to ∼4 Å resolution, indicating that the small crystals were not damaged by the sorting process. We also observed the shape transforms of photosystem I nanocrystals, demonstrating that our device can optimize data collection for the shape transform-based phasing method. Using simulations, we show that narrow crystal size distributions can significantly improve merged data quality in serial crystallography. From this proof-of-concept work, we expect that the automated size-sorting of protein crystals will become an important step for sample production by reducing the amount of protein needed for a high quality final structure and the development of novel phasing methods that exploit inter-Bragg reflection intensities or use variations in beam intensity for radiation damage-induced phasing. This method will also permit an analysis of the dependence of crystal quality on crystal size.

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Date Created
2015-08-19

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Numerical Modeling of Hydrodynamic Flow Focusing in a Microfluidic Device for Time-Resolved Serial Crystallography

Description

Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) with an X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) has enabled the determination of protein structures and protein reaction intermediates in millisecond to microsecond time resolutions. Mix-and-Inject crystallography (MISC) at XFELs enables fast mixing in the magnitude of milliseconds

Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) with an X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) has enabled the determination of protein structures and protein reaction intermediates in millisecond to microsecond time resolutions. Mix-and-Inject crystallography (MISC) at XFELs enables fast mixing in the magnitude of milliseconds in order to achieve desired reaction time points. For these experiments, numerical simulations of a hydrodynamic flow mixer capable of fast mixing by diffusion has been developed using both COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6 and QuickerSims Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Toolbox for MATLAB. These simulation programs were compared by calculations of mixing times and concentration flow profiles. Mixing times in the range of 1-10 ms were calculated in COMSOL under certain flow rate conditions whereas mixing times in the range of 6-15 ms were calculated with QuickerSims. From these mixing times, reaction intermediates can be varied from sub-millisecond to several hundred millisecond time points for a MISC experiment. Explanations for the discrepancies between the two models were attributed to variations in parameter definitions and meshing. Further analysis on the mixing characteristics were investigated by calculating an analytical solution to the convection-diffusion equation for fluid flow in a two-dimensional rectangular channel. The concentration profile along the width of the channel for the analytical solution was compared with the numerical solution obtained with COMSOL and QuickerSims. Upon comparison, it was determined that the diffusion coefficient may not be a significant factor for the disagreement between the two hydrodynamic flow models.

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2021-05

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Synthesis, characterization and electrochemical hydrogen insertion in ATP capped palladium nanoparticles

Description

Water-soluble, adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-stabilized palladium nanoparticles have been synthesized by reduction of palladium salt in the presence of excess ATP. They have been characterized by electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction in order to

Water-soluble, adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-stabilized palladium nanoparticles have been synthesized by reduction of palladium salt in the presence of excess ATP. They have been characterized by electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction in order to determine particle size, shape, composition and crystal structure. The particles were then subsequently attached to a glassy carbon electrode (GCE) in order to explore their electrochemical properties with regard to hydrogen insertion in 1 M sodium hydroxide. The particles were found to be in the size range 2.5 to 4 nm with good size dispersion. The ATP capping ligand allowed the particles to be air-stable and re-dissolved without agglomeration. It was found that the NPs could be firmly attached to the working electrode via cycling the voltage repeatedly in a NP/phosphate solution. Further electrochemical experiments were conducted to investigate the adsorption and absorption of hydrogen in the NPs in 1 M sodium hydroxide. Results for cyclic voltammetry experiments were consistent with those for nanostructured and thin-film palladium in basic solution. Absorbed hydrogen content was analyzed as a function of potential. The maximum hydrogen:Pd ratio was found to be ~0.7, close the theoretical maximum value for β phase palladium hydride.

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Date Created
2013

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Investigating the Relationship Between Astrocytes and Neurons in Alzheimer’s Disease: The Axonal Transport of Amyloid Precursor Protein within Neurons

Description

As Alzheimer’s disease (AD) increases in incidence, there is an increased investigation into the pathogenesis of the disease in hopes of finding a cure to the neurodegenerative disease. The two key hallmarks of AD consist of amyloid beta plaques and

As Alzheimer’s disease (AD) increases in incidence, there is an increased investigation into the pathogenesis of the disease in hopes of finding a cure to the neurodegenerative disease. The two key hallmarks of AD consist of amyloid beta plaques and hyperphosphorylated tau fibrillary tangles. Amyloid beta is a peptide that is proteolytically cleaved from the type I transmembrane glycolytic amyloid precursor protein (APP). APP is highly conserved across species, suggesting the importance of APP in healthy brain functioning. However, when APP is cleaved through the amyloidogenic pathway it produces amyloid beta. The trafficking of APP within neurons has been a new endeavor for neurodegenerative disease research, as reduced retrograde trafficking of APP has been hypothesized to increase the likelihood of the amyloidogenic cleavage of APP, resulting in increased amyloid beta presence (Ye et al., 2017). The findings of this study suggest that transport of APP within neurons is significantly inhibited by increased extracellular glutamate concentration. The addition of human primary astrocytes within a human neuron co-culture allowed for significantly increased retrograde transport of APP within neurons, even within high glutamate conditions. These finding enhance the current field of research regarding astrocytes neuroprotective role within the brain, but bring attention to the role that astrocytes have upon regulation of the axonal transport of proteins within neurons.

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Date Created
2019-12

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Temperature Measurement In Microfluidic Devics

Description

Microfluidics is an expanding research area for analytical chemistry and the biomedical industry. Microfludic devices have been used for protein and DNA sorting, early detection techniques for cancer and other disease, and a variety of other analytical techniques. Dielectrophoresis is

Microfluidics is an expanding research area for analytical chemistry and the biomedical industry. Microfludic devices have been used for protein and DNA sorting, early detection techniques for cancer and other disease, and a variety of other analytical techniques. Dielectrophoresis is a technique is often used to control particles within microfluidic devices however the non-uniform electric field can affect the interior of the device. In order to expand the applications of microfluidic devices and to make it easier to work with techniques such as dielectrophoresis, it is essential to understand as much as possible about how the internal environment of the device will affect the sample. A significant part of this is being able to non-invasively determine the temperature inside the microfluidic device in the both the channel and reservoir regions. Several other research group have successfully used temperature sensitive dyes and fluorescence to measure the temperature within microfluidic devices so research began with understanding their techniques and trying to optimize them for the chosen microfluidic channel. Results from calibration and reservoir tests show that there is a linear relationship between the temperature of the channel and the ratio between the dyes Rhodamine 110 and Rhodamine B. Results within the channel showed that the calibration may be difficult to apply directly as absorption from the PDMS continues to be a problem but several coatings can be used to improve the results.

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2013-12

Insulator-based dielectrophoretic manipulation of DNA in a microfluidic device

Description

DNA and DNA nanoassemblies such as DNA origamis have large potential in biosensing, drug delivery, nanoelectronic circuits, and biological computing requiring suitable methods for migration and precise positioning. Insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) provides an efficient and matrix-free approach for manipulation of

DNA and DNA nanoassemblies such as DNA origamis have large potential in biosensing, drug delivery, nanoelectronic circuits, and biological computing requiring suitable methods for migration and precise positioning. Insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) provides an efficient and matrix-free approach for manipulation of micro-and nanometer-sized objects. In order to exploit iDEP for naturally formed DNA and DNA nanoassemblies, a detailed understanding of the underlying polarization and dielectrophoretic migration is essential. The shape and the counterion distribution are considered two essential factors in the polarization mechanism. Here, the dielectrophoretic behavior of 6-helix bundle (6HxB) and triangle DNA origamis with identical sequences but substantial topological differences was explored. The polarizability models were discussed for the two species according to their structural difference. The experimental observations reveal distinct iDEP trapping behavior in low frequency AC electric fields in addition to numerical simulations showing a considerable contribution of the electrophoretic transport of the DNA origami species in the DEP trapping regions. Furthermore, the polarizabilities of the two species were determined by measuring the migration times through a potential landscape exhibiting dielectrophoretic barriers. The resulting migration times correlate to the depth of the dielectrophoretic potential barrier and the escape characteristics of the DNA origamis according to an adapted Kramer’s rate model. The orientations of both species in the escape process were studied. Finally, to study the counterion distribution around the DNA molecules, both λ-DNA and 6HxB DNA were used in a phosphate buffer containing magnesium, revealing distinctive negative dielectrophoretic trapping behavior as opposed to positive trapping in a sodium/potassium phosphate buffer system.

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Date Created
2015

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Structural studies of the transmembrane and membrane proximal domains of HIV-1 gp41 by x-ray crystallography

Description

The transmembrane subunit (gp41) of the envelope glycoprotein of HIV-1 associates noncovalently with the surface subunit (gp120) and together they play essential roles in viral mucosal transmission and infection of target cells. The membrane proximal region (MPR, residues 649-683) of

The transmembrane subunit (gp41) of the envelope glycoprotein of HIV-1 associates noncovalently with the surface subunit (gp120) and together they play essential roles in viral mucosal transmission and infection of target cells. The membrane proximal region (MPR, residues 649-683) of gp41 is highly conserved and contains epitopes of broadly neutralizing antibodies. The transmembrane (TM) domain (residues 684-705) of gp41 not only anchors the envelope glycoprotein complex in the viral membrane but also dynamically affects the interactions of the MPR with the membrane. While high-resolution X-ray structures of some segments of the MPR were solved in the past, they represent the pre-fusion and post-fusion conformations, most of which could not react with the broadly neutralizing antibodies 2F5 and 4E10. Structural information on the TM domain of gp41 is scant and at low resolution.

This thesis describes the structural studies of MPR-TM (residues 649-705) of HIV-1 gp41 by X-ray crystallography. MPR-TM was fused with different fusion proteins to improve the membrane protein overexpression. The expression level of MPR-TM was improved by fusion to the C-terminus of the Mistic protein, yielding ∼1 mg of pure MPR-TM protein per liter cell culture. The fusion partner Mistic was removed for final crystallization. The isolated MPR-TM protein was biophysically characterized and is a monodisperse candidate for crystallization. However, no crystal with diffraction quality was obtained even after extensive crystallization screens. A novel construct was designed to overexpress MPR-TM as a maltose binding protein (MBP) fusion. About 60 mg of MBP/MPR-TM recombinant protein was obtained from 1 liter of cell culture. Crystals of MBP/MPR-TM recombinant protein could not be obtained when MBP and MPR-TM were separated by a 42 amino acid (aa)-long linker but were obtained after changing the linker to three alanine residues. The crystals diffracted to 2.5 Å after crystallization optimization. Further analysis of the diffraction data indicated that the crystals are twinned. The final structure demonstrated that MBP crystallized as a dimer of trimers, but the electron density did not extend beyond the linker region. We determined by SDS-PAGE and MALDI-TOF MS that the crystals contained MBP only. The MPR-TM of gp41 might be cleaved during or after the process of crystallization. Comparison of the MBP trimer reported here with published trimeric MBP fusion structures indicated that MBP might form such a trimeric conformation under the effect of MPR-TM.

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Date Created
2014

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Optimization and ultimate limitations for immunoassay and clinical diagnostics

Description

Biological fluids, in particular blood plasma, provide a vital source of information on the state of human health. While specific detection of biomarker species can aid in disease diagnostics, the complexity of plasma makes analysis challenging. Despite the challenge of

Biological fluids, in particular blood plasma, provide a vital source of information on the state of human health. While specific detection of biomarker species can aid in disease diagnostics, the complexity of plasma makes analysis challenging. Despite the challenge of complex sample analysis, biomarker quantification has become a primary interest in biomedical analysis. Due to the extremely specific interaction between antibody and analyte, immunoassays are attractive for the analysis of these samples and have gained popularity since their initial introduction several decades ago. Current limitations to diagnostics through blood testing include long incubation times, interference from non-specific binding, and the requirement for specialized instrumentation and personnel. Optimizing the features of immunoassay for diagnostic testing and biomarker quantification would enable early and accurate detection of disease and afford rapid intervention, potentially improving patient outcomes. Improving the limit of quantitation for immunoassay has been the primary goal of many diverse experimental platforms. While the ability to accurately quantify low abundance species in a complex biological sample is of the utmost importance in diagnostic testing, models illustrating experimental limitations have relied on mathematical fittings, which cannot be directly related to finite analytical limits or fundamental relationships. By creating models based on the law of mass action, it is demonstrated that fundamental limitations are imposed by molecular shot noise, creating a finite statistical limitation to quantitative abilities. Regardless of sample volume, 131 molecules are necessary for quantitation to take place with acceptable levels of uncertainty. Understanding the fundamental limitations of the technique can aid in the design of immunoassay platforms, and assess progress toward the development of optimal diagnostic testing. A sandwich-type immunoassay was developed and tested on three separate human protein targets: myoglobin, heart-type fatty acid binding protein, and cardiac troponin I, achieving superior limits of quantitation approaching ultimate limitations. Furthermore, this approach is compatible with upstream sample separation methods, enabling the isolation of target molecules from a complex biological sample. Isolation of target species prior to analysis allows for the multiplex detection of biomarker panels in a microscale device, making the full optimization of immunoassay techniques possible for clinical diagnostics.

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Date Created
2015

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New developments in isoelectric focusing and dielectrophoresis for bioanalysis

Description

Bioanalytes such as protein, cells, and viruses provide vital information but are inherently challenging to measure with selective and sensitive detection. Gradient separation technologies can provide solutions to these challenges by enabling the selective isolation and pre-concentration of bioanalytes for

Bioanalytes such as protein, cells, and viruses provide vital information but are inherently challenging to measure with selective and sensitive detection. Gradient separation technologies can provide solutions to these challenges by enabling the selective isolation and pre-concentration of bioanalytes for improved detection and monitoring. Some fundamental aspects of two of these techniques, isoelectric focusing and dielectrophoresis, are examined and novel developments are presented. A reproducible and automatable method for coupling capillary isoelectric focusing (cIEF) and matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) based on syringe pump mobilization is found. Results show high resolution is maintained during mobilization and &beta-lactoglobulin; protein isoforms differing by two amino acids are resolved. Subsequently, the instrumental advantages of this approach are utilized to clarify the microheterogeneity of serum amyloid P component. Comprehensive, quantitative results support a relatively uniform glycoprotein model, contrary to inconsistent and equivocal observations in several gel isoelectric focusing studies. Fundamental studies of MALDI-MS on novel superhydrophobic substrates yield unique insights towards an optimal interface between cIEF and MALDI-MS. Finally, the fundamentals of isoelectric focusing in an open drop are explored. Findings suggest this could be a robust sample preparation technique for droplet-based microfluidic systems. Fundamental advancements in dielectrophoresis are also presented. Microfluidic channels for dielectrophoretic mobility characterization are designed which enable particle standardization, new insights to be deduced, and future devices to be intelligently designed. Dielectrophoretic mobilities are obtained for 1 µm polystyrene particles and red blood cells under select conditions. Employing velocimetry techniques allows models of particle motion to be improved which in turn improves the experimental methodology. Together this work contributes a quantitative framework which improves dielectrophoretic particle separation and analysis.

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Date Created
2011

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Targeted proteomics studies: design, development and translation of mass spectrometric immunoassays for diabetes and kidney disease

Description

In an effort to begin validating the large number of discovered candidate biomarkers, proteomics is beginning to shift from shotgun proteomic experiments towards targeted proteomic approaches that provide solutions to automation and economic concerns. Such approaches to validate biomarkers necessitate

In an effort to begin validating the large number of discovered candidate biomarkers, proteomics is beginning to shift from shotgun proteomic experiments towards targeted proteomic approaches that provide solutions to automation and economic concerns. Such approaches to validate biomarkers necessitate the mass spectrometric analysis of hundreds to thousands of human samples. As this takes place, a serendipitous opportunity has become evident. By the virtue that as one narrows the focus towards "single" protein targets (instead of entire proteomes) using pan-antibody-based enrichment techniques, a discovery science has emerged, so to speak. This is due to the largely unknown context in which "single" proteins exist in blood (i.e. polymorphisms, transcript variants, and posttranslational modifications) and hence, targeted proteomics has applications for established biomarkers. Furthermore, besides protein heterogeneity accounting for interferences with conventional immunometric platforms, it is becoming evident that this formerly hidden dimension of structural information also contains rich-pathobiological information. Consequently, targeted proteomics studies that aim to ascertain a protein's genuine presentation within disease- stratified populations and serve as a stepping-stone within a biomarker translational pipeline are of clinical interest. Roughly 128 million Americans are pre-diabetic, diabetic, and/or have kidney disease and public and private spending for treating these diseases is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. In an effort to create new solutions for the early detection and management of these conditions, described herein is the design, development, and translation of mass spectrometric immunoassays targeted towards diabetes and kidney disease. Population proteomics experiments were performed for the following clinically relevant proteins: insulin, C-peptide, RANTES, and parathyroid hormone. At least thirty-eight protein isoforms were detected. Besides the numerous disease correlations confronted within the disease-stratified cohorts, certain isoforms also appeared to be causally related to the underlying pathophysiology and/or have therapeutic implications. Technical advancements include multiplexed isoform quantification as well a "dual- extraction" methodology for eliminating non-specific proteins while simultaneously validating isoforms. Industrial efforts towards widespread clinical adoption are also described. Consequently, this work lays a foundation for the translation of mass spectrometric immunoassays into the clinical arena and simultaneously presents the most recent advancements concerning the mass spectrometric immunoassay approach.

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Date Created
2011